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would prove ruinous to the very interests which were then forcing the passage of the bill. Under these views I determined to remain in the chair, and if the bill came to me to give my casting vote against it, and in doing so, to give my reasons at large; but at the same time I informed my friends that I would retire from the ticket, so that the election of General Jackson might not be embarrassed by any act of mine. Sir, I was amazed at the folly and infatuation of that period. So completely absorbed was Congress in the game of ambition and avarice, from the double impulse of the manufacturers and politicians, that none but a few appeared to anticipate the present crisis, at which now all are alarmed, but which is the inevitable result of what was then done. As to myself, I clearly foresaw what has since followed. The road of ambition lay open before me—I had but to follow the corrupt tendency of the times; but I chose to tread the rugged path of duty.
It was thus that the reasonable hope of relief through the election of General Jackson was blasted; but still one other hope remained, that the final discharge of the public debt-an event
near at hand—would remove our burden. That event would leave in the treasury a large surplus; a surplus that could not be expended under the most extravagant schemes of appropriation, having the least colour of decency or constitutionality. That event at last arrived. At the last session of Congress, it was avowed on all sides that the public debt, for all practical purposes, was in fact paid, the small surplus remaining being nearly covered by the money in the treasury and the bonds for duties, which had already accrued; but with the arrival of this event our last hope was doomed to be disappointed. After a long session of many months, and the most earnest effort on the part of South Carolina and the other Southern States to obtain relief, all that could be effected was a small reduction in the amount of the duties; but a reduction of such a character, that, while it diminished the amount of burden, distributed that burden more unequally than even the obnoxious act of 1828: reversing the principle adopted by the bill of 1816, of laying higher duties on the unprotected than the protected articles, by repealing almost entirely the duties laid upon the
former, and imposing the burden almost entirely on the latter. It was thus that, instead of relief, instead of an equal distribution of the burdens and benefits of the Government, on the payment of the debt, as had been fondly anticipated—the duties were so arranged as to be, in fact, bounties
one side and taxation on the other : thus placing the two great sections of the country in direct conflict in reference to its fiscal action, and thereby letting in that flood of political corruption which threatens to sweep away our Constitution and our liberty.
This unequal and unjust arrangement was pronounced, both by the Administration, through its proper organ, the Secretary of the Treasury, and by the Opposition, to be a permanent adjustment; and it was thus that all hope of relief through the action of the General Government terminated, and the crisis so long apprehended at length arrived, at which the State was compelled to choose between absolute acquiescence in a ruinous system of oppression, or a resort to her reserved powers; powers of which she alone was the rightful judge, and which only, in this momentous juncture, can save her. She determined on the latter.
The consent of two thirds of her Legislature was necessary for the call of a convention, which was considered the only legitimate organ through which the people, in their sovereignty, could speak. After an arduous struggle, the State Rights' party succeeded : more than two thirds of both branches of the Legislature favourable to a convention were elected; a convention was called, the ordinance adopted. The convention was succeeded by a meeting of the Legislature, when the laws to carry the ordinance into execution were enacted: all of which have been communicated by the President, have been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and this bill is the result of their labour.
Having now corrected some of the prominent misrepresentations as to the nature of this controversy, and given a rapid sketch of the movement of the State in reference to it, I will next proceed to notice some objections connected with the ordinance, and the proceedings under it.
The first and most prominent of these is directed against what is called the Test Oath, which an effort has been made to render odious. So far
from deserving the denunciation which has been levelled against it, I view this provision of the ordinance as but the natural result of the doctrines entertained by the State, and the position which she occupies. The people of that State believe that the Union is a union of States, and not of individuals; that it was formed by the States, and that the citizens of the several States were bound to it through the acts of their several States; that each State ratified the Constitution for itself, and that it was only by such ratification of a State that any obligation was imposed upon the citizens: thus believing, it is the opinion of the people of Carolina that it belongs to the State which has imposed the obligation to declare, in the last resort, the extent of this obligation, as far as her citizens are concerned; and this upon the plain principles which exist in all analogous cases of compact between sovereign bodies. On this principle the people of the State, acting in their sovereign capacity in convention, precisely as they adopted their own and the Federal Constitution, have declared by the ordinance, that the acts of Congress which imposed duty under the authority to lay